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Blu-Ray : Highly Recommended
Release Date: December 3rd, 2021 Movie Release Year: 2021

Wolf - Theatrical Review

Overview -

Towards the end of the year, movie studios pump out their award's bait, filled with the top A-List stars that will either conjure up tears through big music crescendos over a romance or a biopic that audiences of all ages will eat up. Then a small English-language, Irish-Polish film called Wolf comes along and changes everything. Wolf is a surprisingly ominous, sad, and darkly funny film about a real-life mental disorder that is so terrifying that it must be seen to be believed. With some good parallels to the iconic book One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Wolf stands on its own in becoming one of the year's most disturbing, yet sweetest films. Highly Recommended.

Now in theaters - Order Your Tickets At Fandango!


Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
December 3rd, 2021

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Wolf tells the tale of a real-life mental disorder called species dysphoria or as it's known to people - otherkin. This condition is also known as clinical lycanthropy which is a rare psychiatric syndrome that has humans thinking they can transform into an animal. In the case of Wolf, these people think they actually are an animal whether it be a German Shepard, a parrot, a squirrel, a spider, a cat, or in Jacob's (MacKay) case - a wolf. Anyone can see the severe danger that this particular mental disorder can cause to the public. After a night spent in the woods naked, Jacob's parents take him to a specialized rehab facility that deals with only this illness. It's headed up by a guy known as the Zookeeper (Considine), who tells every parent that brings their son or daughter in that he aims to cure the disorder by any means necessary. Little do they know what that really means - whips, cages, gags, and torture.

Director and writer Nathalie Biancheri (Nocturnal) has perfectly crafted this melancholic story into a web of romance, abuse, and a rehab system that needs checks and balances. With some exquisite performances by George MacKay (1917, Captain Fantastic), Lily-Rose Depp (Tusk), and Paddy Considine (Hot Fuzz, The World's End), Wolf hits hard in some very real places, but can also reveal a sweeter side of humanity when people are faced with adversity and abuse. Its screenplay allows for all the emotional beats to stand up without hitting anyone on the head with those over-the-top cliche gut punches. 

It's easy to see both sides though here as Biancheri's script allows for some success stories and some not-so-successful moments with some of the patients. And just like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, the Zookeeper slowly transforms into an evil medical caregiver or the Nurse Ratchet villain as the patients try and dodge the abuse. This sets up Jacob and the Wildcat (Depp) as the two forms a romantic relationship out of pure necessity to survive or feel any kind of love towards something. It's sad, tragic, and depressing all at the same time. But it can be darkly comical as well as Depp hisses and walks on all fours like a cat while Jacob pounces, growls, and howls when he's in the mood. It's a fine line to walk and Biancheri's direction and script execute it well. 

With all of the sadness happening in this film, there is also a sweetness found between Jacob and the Wildcat. The two really do want to spend their lives with one another, but the Wildcat is further into her rehab than Jacob and acknowledges that he'd be happiest out in the wild living as a wolf. It's a doomed relationship from the start, but that doesn't stop the two from communicating and loving one another in their own way. Wolf does stay on the abuse in rehab angle for a longer than it should be when focusing on the actual condition of the patients and them getting better or worse would have been the right route, but still, in its case, Wolf is still a stellar story.


Video Review


Audio Review


Special Features


Final Thoughts

MacKay is simply phenomenal as this timid young man who knows what he should be but can't be happy as a human. When he acts like a wolf it doesn't feel slapstick or funny, but rather sad and ferocious. It's a dynamic performance. Considine on the other hand perfectly flows from a charismatic doctor who wants to help to a sadistic maniacal doctor. It's a scary thought. Wolf is one of those rare films that tackles a subject that really hasn't been done before. It may be a depressing film, but there is some sweetness towards its center. Highly Recommended. 

Now in theaters - Order Your Tickets At Fandango!